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How Old is My Dog?

The conversation about “cat years” and “dog years” compared to human years is a common one. Even children are fascinated by the concept that the years of a pet’s life are calculated differently than our own. It’s a discussion that might be prompted by the labels on dog food, for example, “for senior dogs.”

So, a pet parent might wonder, when is my puppy no longer a puppy and is my adult dog a senior already?

Small, Medium, Large, and Very Large Dogs

Opinions differ, pets differ and breeds also make a difference, of course. It’s generally accepted that a puppy is termed as a puppy up to the age of one. The age groups become more complicated later on in distinguishing between an adult and a senior dog, depending on the average life expectancy of a breed.

Generally speaking, it is true that smaller breeds of dog have a longer lifespan than the larger ones.

Smaller breeds such as a Chihuahua, Shih Tzu, Toy Poodle and and Jack Russell Terrier tend to live the longest at around 15 years on average. There are even examples of such breeds passing age 20. Very large breeds such as Bernese Mountain, Great Dane, Mastiff, and Irish Wolfhounds have the shortest average life expectancy at around 7 or 8 years.

Based on weight, the American Veterinary Medical Association says: Small dogs are 0 to 20 pounds, medium dogs are 21 to 50 pounds, large dogs are 51 to 90 pounds, and very large dogs are above 90 pounds.

Related: America’s Most Popular Breeds of Dogs

One Year Does Not Equal Seven

It’s myth-buster time. Let’s take a closer look at this rather controversial question. Why controversial? Well, according to the American Kennel Club, the widely touted adage that one dog year is equal to seven human years is inaccurate. The American Veterinary Medical Association concurs, indicating that:

  • 15 human years equals the first year of a medium-sized dog’s life.
  • Year two for a dog equals about nine years for a human.
  • And after that, each human year would be approximately five years for a dog.

Adult to Senior Dogs

Presented as an easy-to-read chart for adult dogs as they age, it looks something like this:

DOG YEARSHUMAN YEARS
744 – 56
1056 – 78
1576 – 115
2096 – 120
Source: American Veterinary Medical Association

Age is Just a Number

Smart pet parents know that age is just a number because the most important thing is providing the best of care (and lots of love, of course) as your dog goes through the natural cycle of life. To stay worry-free, make professional pet care an integral part of that delightful journey.

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